Resolving boundary dispute

Sorry this may seem a bit long winded but there is a question at the end.

My partner and I decided to move in together in early 2016 and, after renovating his property, rent it out.

The property in question was originally one property but had been converted to two seperate dwellings back in the eighties and sold as such.

The neighbour has a right of access (on foot) approximately one metre around my partners property, enabling him access to the rear of his property which is shown clearly coloured green on the land registry plan and is not under dispute.

On the neighbours land registry plan it shows a small outhouse/lean to? to the rear of his property.However, when the neighbour purchased the property this outhouse had already been extended into a single storey bathroom with a door on the side to enable the access/egress from the access pathway and the land registry was not updated. The neighbour has, some years later (approx 2008) further extended this extension into a two storey extension and blocked up the rear doorway.  He has built his extension right up to the boundary line and put patio doors leading directly to his garden on the end.

The gardens at the back of both properties had never had a defining line and were full of dogwood /weeds etc. However, from the land registry plans and the aerial view, plus some other existing buildings as reference it is very clear where the boundary line is as it is a straight line through the two properties. (We've already had ths checked informally by a surveyor). The neighbour had been allowed to cultivate a part of the garden (as his is very narrow approx 9 ft wide) but my partner had always made it abundantly clear that this part of the garden belonged to him and would go and sit on it with his chair saying how nice his garden was looking. Over time the neighbour has cultivated his part of the garden and my partners each time pushing the boundary further but, as my partner only minimally objected this was not really an issue. A fence was erected wholly on my partners land to enable him to keep his dog in and it was suggested to the neighbour that he erect a gate, (off the designated access path) to allow him continued access to his rear garden.  My partner has always been very easy going and hadn't realised that his neighbour was bullying him and misleading him as to actually owned the land.

We found a very nice tenant but the neighbour (whom we had been on excellent terms with previously) took umbrage to our initial choice of tenant and threatended to 'make her life hell' if we let the property to her.

Mr P (my partner) erected  a gate between the fence with a latch to again allow Mr N (the neighbour) access as our prospective tenant had a dog and didn't want it to foul on his lawn. The next day when we went up Mr N had removed all of the furniture from our side of the gate and put it on his side along with a bolt and a padlock which meant Mr P could not access his part of the garden on that side.

Mr P promptly removed the whole of the gate.

A few days after, Mr P was walking down the road when Mr N came running after him shouting and swearing and, as Mr P refused to speak to him Mr N hit him twice on the back. A call was logged to the police but, as there were no witnesses, they could not take any further action.

In the meantime I had accessed all of the land registry information and plans and realised that Mr N had blocked up the doorway to allow him access to the rear of the property and where the correct boundary line should actually be. This meant that each time he was using the access pathway he was trespassing on Mr P's land and we withdrew any consent for him to continue to do so. We wrote to Mr N the next day informing him of this and our intention to erect a fence on our side of the boundary and asking him to remove all of his belongings from our side of the garden.The letter contained all copies of the plans and the relevant evidence plus an invoice for half of the costs of the maintainence of the pathway (something Mr P had never realised Mr N was responsible for).

Mr P went up the day after the letter had been served to do some more work on the property and was seriously assaulted by Mr N who beat him unconcious and put him in hospital with a suspected fractured skull and facial fractures. NB: Mr N was found guilty of assault by beating in February 2017 and given a conditional discharge for 3 years.

A follow up letter was sent with regards to the invoice some 6 weeks after the original.

After Mr N was found guilty we again wrote to him of our intention to reinstate the correct boundary line and asked him to remove his belongings from the land.

We also sent a pre court action letter to say that we would be pursuing the costs of the repairs in the small claims court. After 29 days we got a letter from Mr N's solicitor but this at no point made any reference to the boundary and actually suggested Mr P desist from harrasing Mr N? A factual response was sent and, funnily enough we haven't heard anything since.

Last week we went up as we had advised Mr N we would and started to erect the fence which was carefully placed to ensure it was within the boundary of Mr P's property. Within less than 11 hours this had been removed and dumped back in Mr P's main garden. The police said they could not take any action as there were no witnesses.

On Monday we went and removed the fence that is wholly on Mr P's land and Mr N rang the police and accused Mr P of assaulting him with a sledgehammer (which he certainly had not). All the time we were there Mr N and his son were filming us, and as the police have not even contacted us about the allegation we can only assume that they considered it vexatious.

Whenever we go up to the property either Mr N or his son stand in the garden filming us and I find this very disconcerting.

I am now unsure of what course of action to take. The man is continually trespassing on our land but has failed to respond to any of our letters regarding the boundary except with his fists. We need to put up a fence to ensure our tenants dog does not foul on his garden and also so that he does not continue to trespass on our land, plus so that he cannnot continue intimidating and filming us when we are going about our lawful business. 

I am unsure if there is a statute of limitations for land and we are concerned he may be able to claim it by default.

(On a cheerful note his face was a picture when he realised what we were going to do with the sledgehammer and allowed my partner to get rid of 6 months of anxiety).

Your post is far too long -

Your post is far too long - I've skim-read it.

Unless your neighbour can prove exclusive occupation of your land going back to 1991 you've nothing to worry about.

So if you want to evict him you can.

It's relatively easy to get an injunction to keep him off your land.

I don't know where you live - and by the sound of it I don't want to.

Beating someone unconsicous and causing fractures is not common assault.

I would expect the sentence to be 5 years or more in prison- so where a conditional discharge comes into it is beyond me.


Profile: retired barrister legal adviser with MOJ.

Sorry about the length of the

Sorry about the length of the post, just wanted to make sure I got everything in.

It was suspected fractured skull and suspected facial fractures so CPS decided to go for assault by beating. Initially there were no witnesses but one did eventiually turn up just before the court date  and testified to Mr P being unconcious as he has no recollection of the event. Have to admit we weren't happy with the sentence either.

Thanks very much for your response it is very much appreciated, Letter before action should be going out today.

(It's a small village in West Cornwall by the way).


Whizz Cornwall

Profile: A frustrated landlord trying to solve a boundary dispute

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